Playful Routines :: Meal Time

by Amy on October 12, 2012

Playful Routines: Meal Time | Let's Explore

This is Part 2 of a series on adding playful elements to daily routines with our kiddos. We’re anchoring playtime to routines so we can be present as parents and have some fun!

To read more of my thoughts on playful routines, check out Part 1 of this series.

A good part of our days are spent prepping for meals and eating together, right? Quick and easy meals are often the name of the game with kids to feed, and playful meals are a great way to make a simple, last-minute meal (like popcorn and smoothies) into something special.

Here are some of our favorite ways to shake things up at mealtime – I hope you’ll share your ideas, too!

Living Room Picnic

A change of scenery can make an ordinary meal special. Spread a blanket in the living room, grab a snacky plate (crackers, cheese, veggie sticks, fruit), and enjoy an ant-free picnic at home. Living room picnics are a standby mood changer in our house!

Pretend Restaurant

When you have time for a leisurely meal, create a simple hand-drawn menu and invite your kids to Mom’s Cafe. Take orders, serve their food, refill the drinks, and don’t forget the bill! This is a great time to pull out the fancy dishes, too.

My girls love switching roles and being waitresses and cooks. Notebooks in hand, they write down our orders for custom salads or sandwiches, then zip into the kitchen to assemble the meals.

Funny Face Food

Who says we shouldn’t play with our food? Since my girls were toddlers, we’ve had fun making silly food faces at meal time.

Here are some of our favorite funny face meals:

  • Pita pizzas with cheese and veggies
  • English muffins with peanut butter and fruit
  • Bagels with cream cheese and veggies
  • Pancakes with whipped cream and fruit slices

Dessert for Dinner

Once in a while, a rough or busy day calls for some sweet reconnection in the evening. It’s hard not to relax and smile over make-your-own banana splits. Save this one for the day a serious pick-me-up is in order!

How do you mix things up at mealtime? Maybe you present the food in an interesting way, or play a game that gets the family talking and giggling. I’d love to hear about the playful meals in your house!

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